Volunteering With Kids In Morocco

After spending two weeks in the Sahara desert, we needed a change of scenery. No more sand and merciless sun. Enter rain, a tiny Moroccan mountain town and thirty-odd very loud Moroccan kids. Come along for a short ride down anecdote lane from the time we volunteered as English teachers for Moroccan kids in Tioughza!

 

 

In Morocco, there are just as many small, sleepy towns as there are tea pots in the market. They all look the same with their cookie-cutter houses and dusty streets. One of these towns is Tioughza, located in the South about one hour inland from Sidi Ifni.

Related post: Morocco backpacking guide

In Tioughza, just two blocks from the main street lives the lovely Moroccan family that we stayed with during our time in Tioughza. The family consists of mom, dad and their two very lively daughters. The 1-year-old is very much in her “no”-phase while her 2-year-old sister is more into watching her favourite show on Nickelodeon every afternoon.

Moroccan family photo in the desert

Abdellah and the girls loving a little bit of play time

Tilila: A Unique Program

Abdella, the father, works as a teacher and is the driving force behind an after-school project by the name of Tilila, which in the local Berber dialect means “freedom”. Tilila is a unique opportunity for the local children to learn about different cultures and languages through all the volunteers that work on the project.

Liam Volunteer arts and crafts

Liam channelling Michelangelo while making some posters for the kids

Working With The Kids

To introduce ourselves to the kids, we agreed with Abdellah to make a short presentation about us and our respective countries (Denmark and Australia in case you were wondering).

Well, if we were looking for an interesting cultural experience in Morocco, we sure got it in that classroom!

Related post: How to stay safe and sane in Morocco

Cultural Differences

As it turns out, the school children in Tioughza are by no means familiar with the good old “raise your hand and wait for your turn” system. So, there we were, a little bit overwhelmed by the situation and the unexpected noise level, but also enjoying the challenge of the cultural difference.

Apart from the fact that at least one kid thought that Denmark was a part of Germany, which hurt my national pride a bit, the presentation went well. We managed to overcome the language barrier enough to tell a few stories about kangaroos and vikings. I can only imagine how strange these things must have appeared to the kids, living close to the Sahara desert.

Painting Banners (And Little Girls, Tsk)

After the presentation, we divided the kids into two large groups and told them to paint banners for the classroom. Since the age range for the kids in Tilila spans from around 5 to early teens, some of the older boys decided it was more fun to paint the little girls’ clothes rather than the canvas. One thing is for sure, teaching at Tilila was never boring!

Related post: Tips on how to have an amazing Workaway experience

We spent the next couple of days in a less hectic way, chatting in English with the kids in the classes and doing outdoor activities such as playing football and garbage collection.

After a very interesting and fun week, we thanked Abdellah and his wonderful family for having us and went back on the road – convinced that teaching in Morocco for a living is a demanding job!

morocco, volunteering, kids, out of control

The kids not paying any attention to Liam teaching….

 

 

Further Reading

Central America over. On to Africa! While Mariana and I have been curling up beside the fire during Denmarks not so warm winter, I've been putting together a nice little video of our 3 m...
How To Find The Best & Cheapest Sahara Desert Tour If there’s one thing you’ll get offered again and again in Morocco, it’s going on a desert tour in the Sahara. You can book them from pretty much ever...
Marrakesh: Ali Baba and Fatima In The Land of Aladdin In the weeks leading up to our flight to Morocco, it became clear that most of our friends and family - and well, let's face it, neither of us - had m...
How We Stayed The Night In Ait Ben Haddou! After almost a week in Marrakesh, we finally emptied our lockers, checked under the bed and left to explore the High Atlas Mountains and our first sto...
Trying To Understand Moroccan Family Life During our two months in Morocco, we got to spend one whole week living with a young Moroccan family.Until then, our knowledge of what happens wit...
Imessouane: The Best Beach Town In Morocco! Are there any cool beach spots in Morocco? You know, the kind of small, unpretentious beach towns where time is irrelevant and a sunset beer is the on...
By |2017-01-11T16:18:54+00:00March 19th, 2016|Categories: Africa, Morocco, Travelogue|Tags: , |4 Comments

About the Author:

Mid-twenties American Studies and Spanish major who hit the road in 2013. A Danish viking with an Argentinian lust for life who loves eating cake, learning languages and riding bikes in summer. Also has terrible hand-eye coordination and struggles with spicy food.

4 Comments

  1. Romi March 30, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Wonderful post, warm and funny! The two girls are cuties 🙂

  2. Mari March 30, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Haha thanks hermosa, so glad you liked it! 🙂

  3. abdellah October 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Hi all of you:

    It’s Abdellah,

    I’m very happy to read your article and thank you for sharing it.

    Abdellah
    [email protected]

  4. leeeummm October 24, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Hey Abdellah,

    Im glad you liked the article! I see that you guys have got your website going now, high fives all round 🙂

    I Hope you and your family are doing well, we think about our time at Tilila often.

    Liam

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